The Spurs continued to stay competitive in the Western Conference, but age began to take its toll. The Spurs won 56 games in the 2007-08 season, but had to cede the Southwest Division title to the New Orleans Hornets due to a tie-breaker. The Spurs had the last laugh, though, defeating the Hornets in seven games. But their chance of defending their title was denied by the Los Angeles Lakers in five games of the conference finals. After that the Spurs proceeded to win only a single playoff series in three years (2010, vs. Dallas 4-2 of the first round), culminating in a six-game first-round upset by the Memphis Grizzlies in the 2011 NBA Playoffs, after the Spurs won 61 games that season. They did bounce back in the 2012 NBA Playoffs, going 10–0 in three rounds before they were unexpectedly ousted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the conference finals.
The Cavaliers won 45 games in the 2008 season, despite early-season contract issues involving center Anderson Varejão and guard Sasha Pavlović, and a mid-season trade for Ben Wallace. They fell in the second round by the eventual NBA champions Boston Celtics in seven games, after a hard-fought duel involving LeBron James and Paul Pierce. The Cavaliers would earn the league's best record for the next two years (66 and 61 wins, respectively) and boast the NBA's MVP in James. However, they were unable to win it all, losing to the Orlando Magic in six games of the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals and the Celtics in six games of the 2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals. After that season, as a free agent, James left for the Miami Heat and helped them to two NBA Finals appearances, winning in 2012, while the Cavaliers sunk to an Eastern Conference-low 19 wins in the 2010-11 NBA season, which included a 26-game losing streak. The Cavaliers then selected Kyrie Irving with the first pick of the 2011 NBA Draft as their rebuilding cornerstone.
Read more about this topic: 2007 National Basketball Association Finals
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Famous quotes containing the word aftermath:
“The aftermath of joy is not usually more joy.”
—Mason Cooley (b. 1927)